Wikis – Susan shows you how.

Susan Bentley is the eLibrarian at the school I work at. It’s great having her on staff – in her role she is responsible for maintaining our Library’s online presence. I first heard the word Web 2.0 from Susan I think, so I have a lot to thank her for as I now bask in this Web 2.0 world!

Susan has been busy this year creating Wikis for classroom use. We used to create pathfinders to support curriculum – these were static pages with links to web pages and items available in our Library, but no-one could add to the page other than Susan. Now we’ve moved these pathfinders over to  Wikis and have been introducing them to staff and students. Two of the best working Wikis operate at Yr 11 for Legal Studies and Literature. In these Wikis students have a page each within the Wiki and use this to post responses and upload interesting links or videos they find. I introduced the Wiki to an International studies class last week and received a wonderful reaction from one of the sudents. I could see her eyes widening as she realised the possibilities of this as a tool for learning. She came to see me the next day for some advice on how to link to her page from the home page. She had uploaded numerous YouTube videos about Rwanda and wanted to be able to share her knowledge with her peers. It was exciting to see her enthusiasm – a great reminder to me as to why these are such enabling tools that should be utilised for learning. She’d even gone home to show her Mother what was now possible. This is girl headed off to Uni next year now armed with a powerful realisation of how to use Web 2.0 for collaboration.

Susan is presenting with me next week and has uploaded a presentation to Slideshare about how to create a Wiki using PB wiki – she has lots of good ideas so take a look.     

Wikis – We’re on our way

It’s 2am in the morning and I can’t sleep after my son woke me up. I’ve been lying in bed thinking about all manner of things. Do you remember ‘The Proclaimers’? They were two geeky looking Scottish guys with guitars who wrote a couple of catchy songs that were hits in the 80’s. (Still going strong according to their official site – they’ve even got a myspace page!) I was thinking about Wikis and their song, ‘I’m on my way’, came to mind. The title reflects how I feel about our adoption of Wikis in our School Library. We had pathfinders which were a static page of dewey numbers, keywords, and links that we devised for projects that teachers had set. They were great, but were limited because our Electonic Services Librarian was the only one who could make changes to these pages. They’re so much better now that we’ve started moving them over to Wikis. Now they’re a dynamic collaborative tool and everyone can have input – our Library staff, other teachers and students. Once again, the Lefevers at Commoncraft can explain a Wiki better than I!

I’m working with our Yr 11 Literature class on Monday morning to help them learn how to edit the Wiki our Library has set up for their class. The Wiki has pages for the texts they are studying and each student has their own page to chronicle their reading throughout the course of the year. I’m hoping the students are going to embrace this tool and that other teachers will see the benefits of this for their classes. We’re using PBwiki to create these online spaces and are making them password protected for privacy.

If we get time we may even lift our spirits watching this YouTube video featuring the song ‘I’m on my way’. Maggi137 has cleverly used the song to create a fanvid for the new Doctor Who, David Tennant.